Sistas…let’s get positive!

Note, this post is not for the squeamish. I am talking about sex today so feel free to redirect if you are related to me or under 18 or….

I am not a fan of the Oppression Olympics as a general rule, but as an open minded and thinking gal, well sometimes there are exceptions to the rules. I am not the first blogger of color nor will I be the last to note that since Barack Obama’s ascension to the White House, suddenly the world is curious about us Black women. I mean shit; the First Lady of the Divided States is a Black woman! Yikes!

Since late 2008 I have read more reports about our wooly heads that some of us are learning to love or else beat into submission. (Guess the state of Black women and our hair didn’t matter before 2008) Then there is the sorry state of romantic life for Black women, it seems at least once a month yet another piece is churned out lamenting the pathetic state of love for Black women. Shit and those are the more complimentary pieces written about us. Let’s take a detour to the less flattering sides and you will learn about how poorly we live, we are broker than broke and then some of us are just “bad” mothers. Of course we can thank ole Ronnie Reagan for creating the mythical welfare mother image, a Black woman with a passel of kids looking for Uncle Sam to finance her brood since of course she has no man and she is too lazy to work! Never mind that the data says otherwise, the average welfare recipient is white, yet for most when they think welfare recipient they see a woman of color.

Yet negative imagery of Black women is nothing new, Black women historically have been portrayed as Mammies, everyone loves Mammy! That big asexual woman who tends to all except for herself, then we have the evil mouthed Sapphire and last but not least the hypersexual Black woman with an insatiable sexual attitude who well due to her wantonness good men and bad just couldn’t control themselves. Jezebels created a great diversion to overlook the millions of Black women since slavery who were sexually assaulted…after all she was asking for it!

Thanks to these pervasive and negative stereotypes of Black women it’s meant that we spend a lot of time striving to prove we are not those stereotypes sometimes to our own detriment. Especially for college educated and or middle class and above Black women, we live in a space often times mindful that we will be judged harsher than our white counterparts.

Fear of judgment and desire to break free of stereotypes has meant that too many times we are afraid to claim our sexuality. Lately I have been reading a great deal about the sex positive movement and wondered how many women of color specifically Black women would be willing to openly acknowledge and or embrace the label of sex positive? Considering it wasn’t that long ago that a blogger who incidentally I like but don’t always see eye to eye on started a movement to get sistas married off I suspect that for many of us, being sex positive would be considered a bad thing or at least not something we would claim. I admit this piece today was sparked by reading this piece about a sista in California opening up a sex positive shop and gallery. Over the years I have known way too many sistas who if a conversation ever turns to the idea of sex toys will give you the stank. Funny because sex toys have gone mainstream, hell you can even get a gadget or two at the local drug store but for many sistas it’s still not something we will openly acknowledge. Ironically almost all my white buddies will admit that hell yeah, they keep a Big Red (or whatever color) under the bed but sistas will quickly tell you they don’t need a toy, they got a man! Fabulous, a man or woman is fine but nothing says you can’t self-love yourself either or use that toy with someone else.

So sistas I say as we strive to advance don’t forget that it’s okay to acknowledge our sexuality and to find pleasure in whatever manner suits us. If it is safe and between consenting adults, the body is a temple and pleasure is allowed in the temple.

Sexual Freedom Part Two

Today’s post was inspired by a comment made on my previous post about sex, Sweet Teach said:

“I don’t think ALL sex needs to or actually should happen in the context of a committed relationship . Every experience we have is an opportunity to learn about ourselves, other people, our beliefs and the world, and that includes sexual experiences.

Bottom line is all of us (men and women) need to get a better understanding of what constitutes healthy sexuality and exploration and we need to learn to be comfortable with our own bodies before and while we explore others within and outside of relationships”

Now I was actually going to respond via the comment section, but as I sat on this for the past day or so, I agreed that she was right about the initial contradiction in that post since while I saying we as women should be free to make decisions about our bodies and whom we share them with and at the same time I made the statement that in an ideal world sex should happen within the context of a committed relationship. I will be honest and say, that double-sided way of thinking is most likely rooted in my faith and is something I am grappling with. That would be another post though for another day.

 Its interesting because looking back, I was talking a bit out of both sides of my mouth, yet in hoping  to have a deep discussion and in just my brief time blogging I have been fortunate to meet some folks here who truly are about more than just doing a fly by, I think its time to get bare. That is time for me to get bare and truly open up and explore some of my own thoughts and I invite you to join me.  

In looking back at my own sexual behavior and experiences, I can honestly say that while the best sex was borne from deep relationships( that which happens with the spousal unit for instance) the truth is there have been experiences that occurred not within either of my marriages that I would not trade for anything because they helped shaped me.

Looking back, I must ask myself honestly would I have wanted to arrive at either of my marriages a virgin? The answer is a resounding Hell Naw. Yet the reality is the first time I married at 18, much of it was about guilt over engaging in premarital sex, guilt over enjoying it and I suspect for many women, its guilt over those good feelings that leads us to quickly wanting to partner with a man when deep in our soul, we know maybe we should hold off. This is not to say that we women don’t want partners, but how many of us have been quick to say a man is the one after we knocked boots? Back when I was single, I often confused the sexual afterglow for love and that is a dangerous thing to do. Yet had I had the knowledge I have now, I could have saved myself a lot of heartbreak and accepted a good feeling for just that, a good feeling.

As someone who was raised with Christian leanings even when Christianity was not the official religion of the house in our family, the truth is I still picked up on the messages that seeped in about sex, even the language used in my family, fast girls, hussy… all language designed to shame a young woman coming into herself sexually and this is what I want to avoid in raising my own daughter. The societal messages that good girls, don’t do XYZ because its those messages that I feel create a schizophrenic existence when it comes to sexuality even more-so as women of color. Already we have the larger society that in the past and still today as represented by the imagery of Black video vixen that says Black women are loose. On some level I think the societal messages places a larger burden on Black women when it comes to our sexuality, it makes us harder for us to be upfront about our needs. I can only imagine this pain and confusion is even greater for my lesbian sisters since while I don’t want to generalize I will say that female sexuality that is female centered in my experiences deals with even a greater amount of shaming and negativity from others.

This is a post today with no defined end but I welcome your thoughts and comments. Perhaps I will revist this subject again soon.

Sex is just sex, got it?

Catchy title? Heh. No seriously, between reading various blogs and some women I know in real life, I just feel like saying something to all my sistern regardless of race.

I’m a old married woman (nah, I am not that old but it just sounded nice to say that). I have been married twice, first time was for half a second and this marriage will be 11 years this fall, 13 years total that we have been together. Between discovering my sexuality early shall we say, and between husbands, lets just say that I learned a few things about the menfolks. First thing is just because a man hits the sheets with you means nothing, no seriously.. men rarely turn down the goodies. Much like offering a kid a freeze-pop on a hot day, if you tell a man come on over to your place after a meal, and slip into a sexy nightie and make it clear you’d like to cuddle, probably 92 out of 100 heterosexual men will be all over that like flies on shit, no matter what race they are.

Now, when young women equate sex with love, part of me expects it.. Lawd knows I been there too. My issue is when women old enough to know better fall for the okie-doke, that’s when I feel like ripping my locks out. Better yet when a women gets pregnant by a man she has known all of a few months and then 2-3 years down the road when the sperm donor barely comes around and is MIA with the child support then the woman is crying the blues. I know, it takes two to tangle and yes a man should be a man and step up to the plate but the reality is having a kid with someone you don’t know is generally a bad idea and should the sperm donor turn out to be a asshole, why are you surprised? Shit like that, I suspect even Stevie Wonder could see coming.

No, I know a lot of women in their 30’s and 40’s still get caught up like this and I don’t know why? Now another blogger, Lisa at Black Woman Blow the Trumpet has a great series that delves into a lot of the issues that I suspect lead to Black women ending up in these sorts of situations. Other bloggers such as  OG and a few others have also touched on it as well but I just gotta say when will women realize not all sex is about love and commitment? Ideally in the perfect world we would all have sex within the confines of a committed loving relationship, yet that is not reality for many folks.

Instead women specifically have got to learn that in being empowered in a way that I hope I can get across to my own daughter as she grows up (see my Girl Power post) that its ok to just have sex for no other reason than they choose to do so. Yet it takes being emotionally healthy and balanced to get to that place where we can admit our needs and own it and feel good about it but I think if women can get to that place, there will be a lot less women running around thinking that every man they sleep with is the one. Sometimes you don’t need the ONE, sometimes you need the one that is available right now and a healthy and mature woman understands the difference.  A woman who can get to that place is a woman who will not find herself caught up in bullshit but instead will own up to her part in a messy situation without throwing blame.